CrÃ¨vecoeur observed a ""new man"" in America while a Hessian soldier thought that easy wealth had made Americans spoiled and decadent. This kind of philosophical overview is pretty much the exception, however, in a volume devoted mostly to soldiers' diaries, letters, and memoirs of Revolutionary War campaigns. Some of the selections are quite striking--one man bemoans a lost chance to kill Washington himself and a Hessian named Glick writes about his commanders' gullibility in believing spies who tricked his men into an ambush at the Battle of Bennington. . . . A French volunteer gives chagrined recollections of Sam Adams' social ineptitude (""I thought to myself that in matters of compliment they ordered these things better in France"") while another describes an impromptu officers' banquet at Valley Forge, with torn breeches the required costume and Salamanders (liquor set on fire and drunk flame and all) in lieu of wine. All fertile primary material--much of it collected from historical society records and books of limited availability--which doesn't gel into the kind of narrative most readers will want to follow straight through. However, those with initiative or an unusual interest in military matters ought to find their problems with Bicentennial reports solved for good.